Welcome to Silver and Shadow

"Look at that sea, girls--all silver and shadow and vision of things not seen. We couldn't enjoy its loveliness any more if we had millions of dollars and ropes of diamonds." -L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

This is a blog I will be using for topics other than food. Politics, religion, spirituality, humor, green living, anything that I want to talk about that doesn't fall under the food/cooking category.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

01/28/17: The Week in Review

So, this first week of the new administration has been a wild, emotional roller coaster. Fourteen executive orders in one week, news updates on an hourly basis, and our social media pages are erupting in hysteria, fear, and anger right now. It's hard to figure out what is what and where to focus our energy right now. I decided this was a good place to try and gather my thoughts, and share those and the information I gather during the week, with my readers. I will be sharing links to news articles that I found to be helpful, rational, and educational to me, so that you can read them too. I will also share a piece of American documents, such as the Constitution, so we can refresh our knowledge on these important works upon which our nation was founded. I will also try to focus on a topic that feels relevant each week, as well as pose some questions I don't know the answers to(yet hopefully). If I ever have book recommendations, I will share those here as well. My goal is to keep this a calm, rational, and hopefully balanced forum. I will do my best to present information and not sensationalize it, if possible. It will, of course, be biased towards my own beliefs, but people can form their own conclusions and opinions on the information. Questions, comments, and suggestions on things to feature or focus on, will always be welcome!

Links by Topic:

The Affordable Care Act

This is a good article to start off with. The GOP has been working on alternatives to the ACA. This article talks about one plan and includes a short video that helps flesh out their game plan. I stumbled across this last week while the nation was focused on other issues, but I think this is important to keep an eye on so that we can continue to speak up about what works and what doesn't.

This is a good follow up article to the previous one. It builds off that first idea and presents a couple other ideas. We might not be focused on this right now because of what feels like more pressing issues, but they are going forward with their planning sessions. We need to stay informed about it.

In trying to track down information on why some people dislike the ACA, outside of the idea that it's connected to Obama, I found this. It's from November of last year, but it's not too old to be outdated, in my opinion. I thought this was a good explanation on why some people have problems with it. Most of it stems from the cost, apparently.

This article is a couple years old, but I thought it was really informative on what the GOP base takes issue with in regards to the ACA. If you are trying to find out what other people think about this topic, I highly recommend this one. Rather than ignore objections to the ACA, or write off the objectors as hateful people, I think it would be beneficial to everybody who supports it, to truly understand why some people don't care for it.

The Oil Pipelines and the Environment

Here is a very straight forward article regarding the executive order opening the oil pipelines back up for business. It includes information on what steps have to be taken to go from executive order to actually breaking ground.

Looking for a way to express your thoughts on the pipelines but don't know how? This includes instructions, including an email address to the person in charge of deciding the path these lines will take. Normally I wouldn't include a link to a site I've never even heard of and wasn't sure how reputable it was, but I checked it against the official government website, and found the information matched, so I felt safe including this here.

This is the website I used to double check the above link. You can confirm the information as well, if you want.

I was looking for a good article this week that really explained the timeline of what has happened over the last few years in Flint, Michigan, with their water issues. This was exactly what I needed. It covers every step over the years.

It appears that progress is being made in Flint, but proceeding with caution is probably still warranted.

Here is a good first person perspective of what it was like to grow up in Flint, during this water crisis.


This is a very in-depth article that includes links to other articles regarding the shutting down of science-based government organizations this week. This issue is still too early to tell how it's going to play out, but this is an area I suggest we keep a close eye on.

Here's an article that talks about the job resignations the came in conjunction with the website shutdowns.

The ACLU wrote a good piece on what rights the employees at these organizations have, and don't have. When, where, and what they're allowed to say, etc. This is quite helpful.

The Wall and Immigration

This presents a thought I hadn't had originally while contemplating the wall. While I think the wall is ultimately a silly idea that will only waste money and likely not even get halfway built, if at all, this is a perspective that does need to be included in how we think about it. Not only people will suffer if an attempt is made to build a wall. This will be devastating to many species of animals, as well.

As terrible as a wall sounds, this could all end up being much ado about nothing. Sanctuary cities, mine included, stand to lose all our federal funding for not doing as we're asked. However, as this shows, there are a lot of problems involved in enforcing any of this. My personal take: The wall is a distraction that will probably end up either not happening or not being completed. Our energy would be better focused on other pressing issues.

A good, straight forward article explaining who and what are affected by the immigration ban.

Here is a list of questions and answers regarding how this refugee crisis even came to be in the first place. Because it's easy to ignore it when you live here, but now it's time for us to get caught up on the particulars.

To my knowledge, there have been no more big developments in the immigration ban since the judge's stay late Saturday evening.

Opinion Pieces

After Saturday's march, stories began to emerge on social media of white people behaving in a less-than-ideal manner towards people of color at the marches. Here is a great, lengthy piece that helps explain how to be a better ally. All white people need to learn to be better allies, and even if you think you already are one, you can still benefit from a refresher course.

Here's a good list of things we can all do to try and be better, more informed and more involved citizens of our communities and nation. We might not be able to do all of them, but there are probably some all of us can adopt.

Some thoughts on stooping to the level of people being rude and cruel to others. It might feel good in the short run, but it might not work out for the best, in the long run. We can be better than this.

One of the things I have tried to do after the election, was a piece of advice I read: Study perspectives other than yours. I have begun to branch out and read things that skew both more liberal and more conservative than me, and I feel I have really benefited from it. This is an opinion piece written by a libertarian about why they should be more concerned over this administration's first week than he was seeing from his friends.


Here is a good straight-forward week-in-review including potential consequences and future actions. I try to be careful around anything that deals with predicting the future, because oftentimes it ends up being more about scaring the reader into reading more, but this was well-written.

Elizabeth Warren is upsetting a lot of people this week by choosing to vote for Ben Carson. A lot of people have written her off entirely, but I think this piece shows just how difficult it is to make these decisions. There is a lot of, well, politics involved in politics. Instead of writing people off entirely because they aren't perfect enough for us, maybe we need to learn what goes on in the world of politics and remember that we're hiring imperfect people to work in an imperfect system. I'm not necessarily defending her, I just think that if we are going to be judging politicians, we need to really understand how the game is played.

In the midst of yesterday's chaos involving the immigration ban, this happened. Steve Bannon is quickly rising up in power in this nation, and that's not necessarily a good thing. We absolutely need to keep our eyes on this man.

Civics 101:

I am going to put a portion of an historical document each week so we can slowly digest it over the course of the week. I am going to "start at the very beginning," with the Declaration of Independence. Since this is so widely available in multiple forms, I am not going to put a source link.

Declaration of Independence

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America
When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

Well, that sounds like a good start for a brand new country! It's a good, strong opening statement. I guess next week, we'll find out what some of those causes are...

Question of the Week: Executive Orders
Executive Orders are coming at us fast and furiously this week and I thought it would be a good idea to focus on just exactly what they are. Executive Orders, and the president's ability to use them, are actually not in the Constitution, did you know that? I sure didn't. They are considered the law of the land, but there are many, many exceptions to that, so much so, that I would say that you'd have to put quotation marks around "law of the land".

Here is a good website that explains all the particulars of executive orders. The who, what, how, etc.

Good ol' Wikipedia has a more thorough explanation, if you want even more details.

I know it seems as though all hope is lost to us. But did you know that President Obama signed an executive order in his first year to close down Guantanamo Bay? It was one of his campaign promises that he was determined to make good on...So, how is that going now? I believe Gitmo is still very much open and running...

As this article explains, it can be way more difficult to actually enact these orders than it is to write them. A president can write up an executive order and then wipe their hands as though they've done a good job, but then Congress has to deal with it, and as we know, Congress can sometimes be where things go to die...Only time will tell for some of these executive orders.

Unanswered Questions to Ponder
*When/how/can the SCOTUS speak up/out against any of this?
*When/how/can Congress speak up/out against any of this?
-Are they not speaking up because they are "evil"? Or are they not speaking up because they are busy with confirmation hearings and can only focus on so much in one 24 hour day?
*Will the Democrats work with the Republicans on issues that can be compromised on or will they be obstructionists like the GOP of the last 8 years? Does anybody really win when one entire side refuses to do anything? 
*Why is compromise considered a four-letter word? Can good things come out of compromising?

Video of the Week      

This is the only video of the inauguration I plan to watch. If you're unfamiliar with Bad Lip Reading, please do yourself a favor and watch some more of their youtube videos. They do politics, sports, movies, nothing is sacred. And it's all hysterical. I think we could all use a good laugh after this week. We'll need some lighthearted energy to go into the next week... 

Do One Thing A Week 
I thought I'd try this out and see how it works. There are a lot of places you can go to find "assignments" for yourself to help out in these troubling times. They're wonderful, and I wanted to contribute to that as well. Mine might be a little different, though. Things not necessarily designed to make a big splash in the world of politics, but things to help refresh and renew yourself so that you can have more energy to do those things. Or things that will impact your local world. Or just anything that strikes my fancy. So, for this first week's thing to do, I will go with...

Eat a meal at a POC/immigrant-owned restaurant. 

Well folks, it's been a crazy week, and we're just getting started! I hope this helps you out in your search for reputable news sources and information to help you feel educated and informed of the issues at hand. If you found this to be helpful, feel free to share it with others. I would love to hear back from you if you have an thoughts, comments, or suggestions. Hopefully I can address them in future postings! 

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Legacy Assured

 January 10, 2017

Dear Mr. President,

The person who has been elected to replace you seems to be intent on dismantling all you have done for our nation over the last eight years. He's a hateful, vengeful person who clearly wants to destroy you and all you hold dear. If he succeeds in ruining everything you fought for, I want to reassure you that you will not be looked at as having failed us our the country, in any way. History will look back at this as a time when we, the people, failed you. We failed to stop this man's election and the election of so many others in his party, also intent on wrecking all you worked so hard for. It will be remembered as a time when we, the people, allowed the hate-filled to run rampant over all we cared about. Our hubris and our naivety allowed us to think that hate, racism, sexism, homophobia, and Islamophobia had been successfully overcome, when the reality is, we had barely scratched the surface. And sadly, these phobias and isms might take some of your legacy with them.
As your tenure as president comes to its natural conclusion, you have probably been thinking about your legacy a lot lately. A legacy is difficult to sum up. How does one quantify how many hearts you touched? Or minds you opened? Or people you inspired to be their best selves to others? It won't be fully known for years. When children today grow up and enter the world of politics to follow in your footsteps, then you will begin to know.When people like me, who usually write my thoughts out, take to the streets to fight for what's right, instead of ignoring it and hoping it gets taken care of by somebody else, it will show itself. When we stop looking at each other as enemies, and remember we are fellow Americans, then you will know. A program set up by the government is just a program, but changing minds and hearts is eternal.

Generations from now, we will hopefully see this moment as the beginning. The moment we woke up and fought back. Perhaps it will take losing what seems so obviously just and right, to make us fight for it all the harder. And when we get them back, we will have truly earned them, and will cherish them. It's funny, for rights that are supposed to be inalienable, we sure have to fight really hard for them, don't we? People like to hold power over others in any way they can, I suppose.

 As I look back on the last eight years, I realize something. It wasn't a case of people who needed the rights not fighting hard enough for them, but a case of those of us who didn't need them, not fighting hard enough for those who did. For eight years, we let you do all the heavy lifting and all the hard work, while we sat back and rested on our laurels. We elected you twice and thought that was all we needed to do. We spent eight years basking in the glow of our liberality, and our open minds, which were sadly closed to what was truly happening in this country, assured that we had gotten the job done. We washed our hands of it, and returned to reality tv and movies to distract us. We squandered our opportunity. To reference Hamilton, we threw away our shot. We had so much potential, and we wasted it.

What I can see now, is that the battle never truly ends. There will always be those who fill their minds and hearts with hatred, and they will never stop finding people to hate. It will always be our job to fight against it. We owe ourselves, our country, our world, and you, no less than this.

In spite of the heaviness and weariness that accompanies this realization, I draw strength from remembering why you ran for president in the first place. You taught us to have hope, and never give up on it. And so, I look to the future, with hope in my heart. If any elements of your legacy are destroyed by the next administration, it will not be because they were wrong, but because they were ahead of their time. When we, the people, are ready, we will joyfully and willingly adopt these elements. And I will try my hardest to do my part in all of this.

If you stay in this fight after you leave office, we will stand with you. We will fight to maintain your legacy, and to build from it. But you rest up for a while. You've worked very hard for all of us for the last eight years. It's our turn to fight for you now.

With eternal love and respect,
Summer Whitesell